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Books benefiting from ‘dogs

It’s no secret the ‘dogs have been barking, and several Las Vegas sports book directors are saying they can’t recall a better start to an NFL season.

Not that the betting public is worried how the house’s bread gets buttered. Through the first five weeks, sports book carpets have been littered with torn-up parlay cards before the afternoon games are even played. That doesn’t mean the favorites aren’t capable of digging in and hitting it out of the park on any given Sunday.

The betting public has not been scared away from favorites. Other than games that were sitting on a key number, there were five line moves supporting the favorite and four moves backing the underdog this week.

One favorite seeing love from the players is Pittsburgh. There is no bigger ‘dog than the Cleveland Browns, who are battered at quarterback as rookie Colt McCoy will be getting thrown to the wolves in his first career start.

Oh, by the way, there’s another quarterback storyline. The Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger makes his return and might be looking to make a statement.

Pittsburgh opened as a 10½-point favorite and the number has ballooned to 13½. On a weekly basis, it’s well documented the Steelers are a public play, so the move is not unexpected and the line may continue to steam this morning leading up to kickoff.

Other quarterbacks in the hot Week 6 spotlight are Minnesota’s Brett Favre and Dallas’ Tony Romo. The Vikings are 1½-point home favorites over the Cowboys in a desperate battle of 1-3 underachievers.

Favre claims he might not play due to soreness in his throwing elbow. In a related story, Bill O’Reilly has been named a permanent panel member on “The View.”

It’s a brave man who can say with conviction which offense will wake up from an early-season slumber party. Minnesota and Dallas have been less than stellar, and the only constant for these two fashionable preseason picks has been inconsistency.

Peyton Manning and Donovan McNabb have a date in Washington tonight. Indianapolis, a 3-point favorite, is coming off a lackluster victory over Kansas City, while Washington squeaked out a win over Green Bay in overtime.

It would be foolish to think Manning won’t get things really rolling in the right direction in the not-too-distant future.

Baltimore’s Joe Flacco, a rising star quarterback, meets established stud Tom Brady, who begins life without Randy Moss in New England.

A possible playoff preview is on the menu, with the Patriots favored by 2½ to 3 points. The Ravens sport the look of a contender, but New England coach Bill Belichick has had two weeks to prepare.

Every year we see a handful of teams decimated by injuries. The flavor of the month in that department is Green Bay. The Packers were pounded in Super Bowl futures wagers before the season, but they now face an uphill climb.

With plenty of football to be played, the Packers have lost their starting running back and star tight end, and quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ uncertain status had today’s game with Miami off the board most of the week.

Rodgers is scheduled to start, but the uncertainty of his functionality and the likelihood that star linebacker Clay Matthews won’t play has kept the number low. Green Bay is a 3-point home favorite over the Dolphins, who are coming off a bye week.

Brian Blessing, host of Sportsbook Radio on ESPN (1100 AM and 98.9 FM), can be reached at blessproductions@yahoo.com.

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